Featured: How England's Classic Motor Hub Is Perfecting The Cars & Coffee Formula

How England’s Classic Motor Hub Is Perfecting The Cars & Coffee Formula

Will_Broadhead By Will_Broadhead
April 9, 2018
10 comments

Photography by Will Broadhead

All hail the arrival of spring and the first glimmers of an approaching summer. After a long and bleak winter, for those of us in the northern hemisphere at least, the first flickers of a warm day bring us out of the cold-and-wet-induced slumbers and out to our workshops and garages. The metallic sounds of spanners echo in the garage as we did through the tools needed to wake our cars and bikes for the first runs of the year, starter motors whir and relays click and if we are really lucky, engines fire into life on the first turn or kick. In a ritual that is replicated across continents, enthusiasts and owners alike flock to the first outdoor meets of the season—for many, it’s one of the the ubiquitous “Cars & Coffee” meets. Ah yes, a bunch of car guys stand in a lot or in a field, drinking sub-standard coffee whilst long-suffering wives and girlfriends look on with perfected boredom. Drive, meet, go home, and repeat.

Ok, so that was a slightly stereotypical and perhaps cynical view on it, and it’s not that I don’t enjoy meeting up with like-minded people. It’s just that, well, they can all become a bit of a clone of one another can’t they? And the hackneyed format has a habit of soaking up that spring-induced enthusiasm and replacing it with stale lethargy. Thankfully though, not all of these meets were created equal, and my destination of choice for the first such event of my season, the Classic Motor Hub in Bibury, Gloucestershire, managed to surpass my already high expectations for the venue.

Unfortunately, spring has seemed somewhat far away in the UK this year, and with more snow over the past month than has been seen for years, the winter cold and precipitation more than outstaying their welcome by now, the chances of a fine, sunny day at the Hub were looking slim. The day prior had been spent paddling through the floods at Oulton Park and as such I was not optimistic. But somewhat miraculously, I awoke to sunshine and double-digit temperatures on the morning of the meet, and had I not of been driving, I’m sure I would have skipped to Bibury. I arrived shortly before gates opened to one of the most wonderful queues I have ever been in; it’s not so bad when you’ve a Ferrari to the front and a Riley sat behind you, and it seemed everyone who had signed up to this meeting was determined to make the best of the turn in the weather.

Once inside the glorious sight of well over a hundred classic and exotic sports cars greeted my eyes, offerings from Porsche, Mercedes, and Ferrari were littered around the grounds. There were loudly-painted American muscle cars on show, as well as trucks, hot rods, and the aforementioned teeny-tiny Riley, not forgetting the typical Triumphs, MGs, and Jags. The standard was high, and it appeared that of the 250 slots allocated to the enthusiasts who had signed up, most had attended in something you could call classic.

Of course, this may be a reflection on the Hub itself, which, along with Cotswold Collector Cars who also reside on the site, carries a fabulous and ever-evolving collection of cars that would easily tick off many of our dream garage choices in full. All of these are on view to those gathered on the day of, including the private collections housed at the Hub, so even if you hadn’t managed to find something you liked in the car park (and I very much doubt that would have been the case), there were a great many machines and curios to entertain within the walls of the hangers. It doesn’t stop there either, with fabulous food offerings to satisfy anyone’s palate, locally sourced bacon in brioche buns anyone? With proper coffee as well! All for much less than I’ve paid for a rat burger and greasy chips at many of the other events I’ve attended in the past.

With such immense machines already curated at the Hub, complemented by the wonderful cars of those attending in a relaxed and wonderfully friendly environment, this is more than just a parking lot full of cars. By controlling the numbers that can attend, space isn’t at a premium during the morning rush and the atmosphere and intimacy of a small meeting is retained, but with the magic and exclusivity of being surrounded by millions of pounds worth of cars and bikes, with top notch trimmings. That’s a pretty special trick to pull off, and if you haven’t made it one of these already, I would urge you to box out the first Sunday of the month and sign up. But be quick though, there’s already a waiting list…

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10 Comments on "How England’s Classic Motor Hub Is Perfecting The Cars & Coffee Formula"

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jolocho
jolocho

As long as it’s not the same people that show up every time having a limit is a great idea.
My problem with the local Cars&Coffee is that it became way too crowded and the same groups of people showed up every month. It’d be difficult to implement, but I’d like a cap on the type of car. For instance, I like Mustangs, but having a quarter of the lot taken up by the club is too much.

BenCMH
BenCMH

So far we’ve had quite a mix of attendees at The Hub, and though we do have regular visitors, we see new faces and different cars every time. We’re still working on getting the right pre-registration process in place to ensure we get a wide range of cars attending. Because we have lots of events throughout the year, so it’s unlikely we will have clubs and the same crowd attending each one.

Ben @ The Classic Motor Hub.

Joe Ferreira
Joe Ferreira

Being from Canada, I am jealous that there are these car and coffee events. I am from Toronto. The car meets or cruises as we call them are on a downturn as the war on the car continues.

Drew8119
Drew8119

Nice one, Will.
Your usual high quality photos and commentary.
We were there. You summed it up perfectly.
Creeping over… hopefully anyone thinking about going along will now do so.
I’m not affiliated to the Hub in any way, just a fan of this stuff!
Cheers, A.

BenCMH
BenCMH

If you haven’t already been this year, we hope to see you at one of our events soon!

brian smith
brian smith

Can anyone tell me what kind of car is the one in the Gulf livery? It is beautiful. Thanks.

Benjamin Francis

It’s an Ultima GTR

Jack Chesnutt
Jack Chesnutt

Since our (U.S.) C&C meets are open to all, and not terribly organized, I’m curious how the cars are selected to fill the limited number of “slots.” Submit car info and await a reply? Photo attached? Who decides which cars make the cut? Is there parking for those without “classics” in “slots” to enter, gaze, graze and chat?

Will
Will
At the minute, first come, first served to those that fill in the website booking form, regardless of what you drive. Slots are limited by the size of the site, although there is some overflow parking for those turning up on the day, but it is limited. So far it seems to be a healthy mix of those with classic/exotic/sports cars and those without that turn up, it’s not elitist at all and nobody bats an eyelid if you turn up in a family saloon. It causes quite a stir with the large groups of tourists that flock to the… Read more »
Jack Chesnutt
Jack Chesnutt

Thanks for the added details, Will! Looks like a fine gathering. It could be a model for some of our C&C meets here in the Denver area. The BIG one – monthly – is huge. And, while interesting, a bit unwieldy. And we do need better food and coffee choices! Cheers.